The states of New Jersey and New York this week ramped up their support for the transition to electric vehicles. Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey signed a new incentive package into law that will pay consumers up to $5,000 if they purchase an electric car. In New York, governor Andrew Cuomo announced his state will offer incentives for people and companies to install EV charging equipment.
$25 Per Mile
Under the new law passed by the state of New Jersey, purchasers of electric vehicles will be eligible for a rebate of $25 for every mile their new vehicle can travel on battery power alone, up to a maximum of $5,000. For instance, if a new car can drive 200 miles on a single charge, the buyer gets $4,000. If its a plug-in hybrid with 35 miles of range, the rebate is $875.
As part of the legislative package, New Jersey is increasing its EV goals dramatically. The law calls for 330,000 electric vehicles by 2025 and 2 million by 2035, according to CBS News Philadelphia. That goal would rise to 85% of all new car sales in the state by 2040. There are currently about 6,600 electric vehicles registered in the state. The bill also offers a $500 incentive for people to install their own EV charger at home and calls upon New Jersey Transit to buy only zero-emission buses by 2032.
“I don’t think any other state in America … has the aspirations like ours,” governor Murphy said at the signing ceremony for the new legislation. “This is a big first step,” said New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel. “And it’s long overdue.” Matt Casale, transportation campaign director for U.S. Public Interest Research Group. added “New Jersey just put every other state looking to lead on clean transportation on notice.”
Who Pays For All This?
The legislature has set aside $30 million to fund the rebate program. That money will come from a surcharge of between 4 and 5% on utility bills that New Jersey residents and businesses already pay. That surcharge brings in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, says CBS Philadelphia, money that is used to help low income residents pay their utility bills.
Apparently this new plan amounts to a reallocation of those funds, not a new fee that utility customers have to pay. But if the program is limited to $30 million, that is only enough to cover 7,500 EVs with 200 miles of range. That’s a long way from the 330,000 electric cars the state wants on its roads by 2025.
CBS News Philadelphia reports that the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers praised the bill, saying it addresses obstacles to electrical vehicles which it says typically cost $12,000 to $15,000 more than comparable gas-powered vehicles. Obviously, the dealers care little for true cost of ownership statistics, which they could use to boost sales of electric cars without the new state incentives.
Jim Appleton, who heads the dealer group, said in a statement, “The New Jersey Legislature and Governor Murphy have stepped up and put real money where their mandates are. Today’s legislation addresses the two biggest obstacles to greater EV adoption — price and range anxiety. New Jersey’s franchised dealerships are ready to lead the anticipated growth in the Garden State’s EV market in 2020 and beyond.” New vehicle sales in New Jersey total about $38 billion annually.
New York Make Ready Program
The State of New York is also pursuing a goal of increasing the number of electric vehicles on its roads. Its goal is 850,000 EVs by 2025 and to get there, the state’s Department of Public Services is recommending the establishment of a statewide utility supported “Make-Ready” Program to promote responsible electric vehicle charging station deployment, according to the governor’s office. The initiative includes $55 million to pay for rebates of up to $2,000 to purchasers of qualifying electric cars. The new program provides enough money for an additional 20,000 rebates.
“Accelerating electric vehicle ownership is a key component of New York’s nation-leading plan to fight climate change and grow our clean energy economy,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “The Make Ready initiative will direct the State’s utilities to build the grid infrastructure needed to enable the installation of publicly accessible chargers, encouraging more New Yorkers to choose electric vehicles while creating jobs and ensuring our energy dollars stay in-state.”
Charging infrastructure will be critical to achieving the state’s EV goals. The report suggests utility companies be required to incorporate EV charging scenarios into their annual capital planning processes to encourage thoughtful siting of charging infrastructure. The utilities would be expected to identify locations suitable for electric vehicle charging equipment and infrastructure siting and to proactively educate developers on how adding to the EV charging infrastructure can provide financial rewards.
Much of the new charging equipment will be installed in low income neighborhoods that may have been impacted disproportionately by pollution from nearby highways, according to Green Car Congress. The utilities are also expected to expand time of use tariffs to encourage charging during off-peak hours.
The EVolve NY initiative, administered by the New York Power Authority, has committed $250 million to expand public fast charging along key transit corridors, creating new charging hubs in major cities and airports, and establish electric vehicle-friendly model communities that will encourage residents to transition to driving electric vehicles. The NYPA expects to install charging stations at every service area on the New York State Thruway, bringing the total number of installed charging stations to 800 within 5 years.